I confess: I lead a double life.
At my day job, I am a scrupulous adherent to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the Canadian Press Style Guide, the Government of Canada’s The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing and more. From years of working in corporate communications, my brain holds a thick compendium of grammatical rules. If I come across something I don’t know, I look it up. I am strict and thorough and liberal with the red pen, whether reviewing my work or others’. Along with teammates, I have been referred to as the Grammar Police.
When writing for myself, I am as loose as a swing in the wind.
While I remain tethered to the basics of grammar, when writing fiction I allow myself freer reign. Does the word outsiderness exist? It does now. How about an undergarmented paper doll? You bet. If it sounds right, I’m happy to let it be.
If Shakespeare can make a character bedazzled and Dr. Seuss can create a nerd and Milton can coin pandemonium, what’s stopping me from using a word if it works, even if it doesn’t (yet) appear in the dictionary?
I am also a faithful devotee of sentence fragments. While I read other authors’ novels and admire how each sentence has a subject and a verb, I can’t manage to follow that notion myself. They say a writer should find his or her own voice, and sentence fragments are apparently me.
All said, while my personal writing remains clean and as error-free as one set of eyes can make it, it has a playfulness my corporate writing lacks. It’s also infinitely more fun to take an idea and run with it, slipping in grammatically naughty bits as the mood moves, than to be chained to reference books and the rules of the day.
Just don’t tell the Grammar Police.
Read previous posts.
I store my classics on a bookshelf on the downstairs landing. These days, each time I pass, my eyes are drawn to two selections: Wuthering Heights and Dracula. It would be fun to read them again. But when would they fit into my to-read list (especially super-thick Dracula)?
At the beginning of the week, I had three unread bookstore purchases waiting for my attention. On Tuesday, I purchased one more—to both support the writer and support an independent bookstore. On Thursday, three books I’d had on hold were delivered to the library (see photo, plus Quill & Quire arrived in the mail).
I love reading, but when does it become a chore?
I think I need to add breathing space. Start one book. Finish. Ponder my next choice. Move on. The problem is:
- there are too many books that sound fascinating
- it’s difficult for me to quickly grab a book when I’m ready for one—my local library only offers so much and it takes time to truck in special orders, and to buy a book new, I need to travel out of town or order it in—so I have to plan ahead.
The best option is: Writers! Stop writing so many appealing books! Give me time to catch up!
Or I’ve got to stop listening to media so I don’t know what the latest and greatest is.
I don’t think either of those will happen, so I guess I’ll just have to use willpower.
Read my previous thoughts on wanting more, more, more.
Registration for the 2015/16 session of my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is coming up soon. This is my first year of the program, and the question on my mind is: do I study full time or part time?
The thought of full-time study gets me excited. Think of the fabulous things I could learn! Think of the scholarships and financial aid I’d be eligible for!
On the other hand, if I don’t get financial aid, it’d be a serious dent in the bank account; and how would we pay for our son to start going to university too? Also, can I honestly study full time while working full time and living a life with my family? (Quitting my job’s not an option.)
Part-time study would allow me to breath. I could balance school with work and home life. I might even be able to throw in some paid writing on the side, like a magazine article or two. And the tuition would be half as much at a time.
On the other hand, it seems so blah to take it so slowly, and so long term. And I’d likely never qualify for scholarships or financial aid; the money paid would be 100 per cent mine.
One minute I’m sure I’ll go for full time, the next I’ve flipped to part time. Which do I choose?
I suspect home life has to come first, so perhaps part time’s the answer for me.
Do you have experience with a similar decision?
Read previous posts.